In preparing his report about "Home on the Range," Steve Lickteig asked NPR's Paul Brown, an expert fiddle and banjo player, to perform the song as it probably sounded when Dan Kelley first put Dr. Brewster Higley's poem "My Western Home" to music.
"The melody itself is not hard to sing, but it has some unexpected turns." Brown explains. "It's not that special a melody, it's a nice one. It's interesting in some ways, but it's not the type of thing that just grabs you and that you remember instantly."
Brown, executive producer for weekend programming at NPR News, plays in two old-time bands, including the Bent Mountain Band with Mike Seeger and Andy Cahan.